COVID-19: Local vaccine trials may end in next two months, says Dr Harsh Vardhan

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Dr Harsh Vardhan
Dr Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi : Addressing India's fight against coronavirus, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that a locally-made vaccine could complete its final trials by the next two months. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Bharat Biotech this month started third-stage trials of COVAXIN, in a process that would involve 26,000 volunteers.

"We are in the process of developing our indigenous vaccines, in the process of completing our third-phase trials in the next one or two months," Dr. Harsh Vardhan told a web conference on the pandemic.

He also mentioned that the government has the aim of providing immunity to around 200 million to 250 million people by the end of July 2021.

Earlier, speaking to Reuters news agency, ICMR had said that the vaccine against coronavirus may be launched in February and March 2021, although Bharat Biotech separately told Reuters on Friday that results of the late-stage trials were expected only between March and April.

Indian officials have said they expect to rely on COVAXIN and four other locally-tested candidates to control Covid-19, as they do not expect early access to sufficient quantities of those developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

The other experimental vaccines on trial in India are the one being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University that is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India; Russia’s Sputnik-V; Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D and lastly one that Biological E. Ltd is developing with Baylor College of Medicine and Dynavax Technologies Corp.